Magnet fishing can be dangerous

“Behind every find there is a story of its own,” says Mario Schrader, throwing the best fishing magnet into the water again. He is standing at Ludwigskai in Würzburg. With him is Walter Linder. For about a year and a half, the two have been sharing a hobby that is hardly known in Bavaria but already controversial: magnet fishing. On this day, they had to get up early for it. When they arrive on the banks of the Main, there are still light clouds of fog over the river.

Schrader attaches a shiny silver magnet weighing two kilos to a plastic rope about 20 meters long. The 22-year-old ties the other end to a metal strut anchored in the ground. He then takes the magnet in his hand, takes a swing and throws it about five meters toward the middle of the river. The two are looking for treasures and scrap metal that have been lying at the bottom of the Main River for years or even decades.

Ammunition catch near Bad Kissingen: When magnet fishing becomes dangerous
For magnet anglers, the most exciting moment comes now: With slow movements, Schrader pulls on the rope and tries to fish the magnet out of the water again. They’re not so lucky on their first cast today: an old, rusted hook. “Could be part of the bank stabilization,” Schrader ponders. “Or from a ship,” says Linder. A little later, as they pull a traffic sign out of the water, the two are watched by two curious pensioners. They are repeatedly asked whether they are fishing with the magnet. Clear answer: No.

Mario Schrader is probably showing an old bicycle rim that he fished out of the Main River with his magnetic fishing rod.
Photo: Nicolas Armer | Mario Schrader probably shows an old rim of a bicycle that he fished out of the Main River with his magnetic fishing rod.
Getting into the hobby is not expensive
Although the hobby is still quite unknown, magnet fishing has become more and more popular in the past two years – also because it is cheap. A usable magnet including rope is already available for under 40 euros. Although there are no club structures, groups with several thousand members have since sprung up on Facebook, where amateur anglers share pictures of their finds and discuss the right equipment. One of the largest information portals on the Internet is the site Interest has increased significantly, says Lukas Maaß, who has been running the homepage since 2016. Page visits have doubled in recent years to 55,000.